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pontoontodd last won the day on December 31 2018

pontoontodd had the most liked content!

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About pontoontodd

  • Rank
    Certified Subaru Nut

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Loves Park, IL
  • Referral
    search engine, lifted subarus and other mods
  • Biography
    Mechanical engineer, off road racer, trail ride and pre run with Subarus.
  • Vehicles
    1999 Legacy Outback, 1996 Impreza

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  1. We got about 4 hours of gopro footage of the prerun and race but it will be a while until I get that edited. Nothing from outside the car, we only went by the pits every half hour or so and we were driving/navigating in something most of the time. I thought about safety wiring those control arm bolts and obviously should have. If I did everything to the car I thought it needed to make it perfect I'd be broke and I'd never get to drive it. I have a few ideas for tuning the shocks to make it better on that small square edged rocky terrain. The upside is that our class was all the trucks that weren't full tube frame (trophy trucks) and only that F100 beat us. The Forester has at least 50% more CV angle than my Outbacks at ride height, we plan on putting softer springs on it soon to lower it and improve the ride. The CV boot that failed twice is right above the cat, he's going to try to add a heat shield there.
  2. We drove back to the ranch Sunday morning and I tried to put a bolt in place of the one that had fallen out but couldn't find the threaded insert, it probably fell back into the body. I did safety wire it to the body a little better. I had also heard/noticed something funny in the rear end while driving. The stamped “frame rail” the RR trailing arm mounts to had mostly torn loose from the body. I had intended to beef up this side like I did the LR after the failure in AR but hadn't gotten around to it, although this one failed in a different fashion. Saw this garter snake eat a small frog. We took the lights, door bars, numbers, and harnesses off the Outback and drove it over to the driver's meeting at 10AM. JCR finished second in the air cooled class. The F100 won the heavy metal truck class and we finished second. We hooked up the Forester and started towing home. Outback ran fine until we got to the highway and when I went to pull onto the highway the engine stalled and I could not get it restarted. It cranked fine and would fire a little but but wouldn't run. We rolled back out of the way a bit and switched cars so we were towing the Outback with the Forester. The low range really helps get started. We were driving by the temp gauge. We couldn't run the AC and could only average about 60mph to keep the temp gauge at the two thirds mark. We were planning on checking out a first gen Outback with a second gen Outback EZ30 and 4EAT in Des Moines on the way home so we headed north from OKC and went up through KS. We camped near a big man made lake in KS next to a little river. The next morning we could average 65 with the cooler temps for a while. As it got back up in the 80s we had to keep going slower. There were some long climbs in MO and as I was going up one of them all of a sudden I saw a big cloud of dark gray smoke out the back of the Forester. It dissipated quickly but I said something to B and started to pull over and he says “don't worry, it's just the CV boot exploding grease on the cat.” He's driven across the country on an axle without a CV boot so he thought we should just continue. About fifty miles later I noticed if you gave it over about half throttle the RPM and speed would increase (not quite like a slipping clutch) accompanied by a ratcheting noise. I pulled off at the next ramp and had just barely enough torque capacity to get in the gas station. I parked the cars in the shade of a semi trailer and we replaced the CV axle. It was the most melted/smashed CV we've ever seen come out of a Subaru. While we had things disassembled B wanted to replace the control arm bushing on that corner so we did that too. B drove the next leg and a few hours later the same thing happened to the new axle we'd just installed. He pulled off to the side of a gas station parking lot and we discussed our options. I fired up the Outback and it seemed to be running fine but there was a rattling noise that seemed to be coming from the driver's side cat. I drove it around the parking lot and it ran fine so we hooked it up to the Forester and got on the interstate. Before we even got up to speed it started dying so I pulled over. We switched back and towed the Outback to the nearest exit and then went to a local Autozone and swapped out the CV axle in their parking lot. Just another day in the life B said. We took state highways the rest of the way back, got to my house without any further issues. After we disconnected I was able to drive the Outback 100' into the garage and it died. B drove the Forester home. Saw this caterpillar on the back of my house the next morning. Probably one you shouldn't eat.
  3. For the race we parked the Forester in the main pit for refueling and driver/navigator changes. At the start of the race I rode with JCR in the baja bug, B drove the Outback with slammo navigating, and J rode with in the F100. The F100 was a well built prerunner with full glass and interior. They started flagging off cars one a minute at 5PM which meant the Subaru started around 5:15. JCR kept telling us all weekend he was going to take it easy but it didn't seem like it while I was riding with him. I felt safe but he seemed to be pushing the car hard. It seemed to have stiffer suspension than the Subaru despite having more travel and better shocks but that allowed him to hit things harder without bottoming. The seats were comfortable and the open air was actually much cooler than the Subaru with AC on since we had about 100x as much airflow. Within two miles of the start we started hearing a banging noise in the rear and he pointed at the mirror and I saw the RR fender flapping in the breeze. By mile 3 it was gone. He continued to run the car hard and passed a buggy and a truck but did not catch up to the Subaru despite starting about five cars back. He was familiar with the ranch but I did help him navigate a little and slowed him down for a few hazards I don't think he saw coming. Both of our fresh air hoses kept coming off our helmets so every couple miles I had to shove them back on. At about mile 25 the lightbar above the windshield started flapping around (just one bolt holding it on) so I held that in place with my arm through the windshield opening for the last five miles. I had told him multiple times before the race I just wanted to ride for one lap but when we got to the fork for the main pit he just kept going straight on the race course despite me pointing to the pit exit. Fortunately I got him to pull off into the pits just before the start/finish line. We got out and I unbolted the light bar. A woman from the pit we were near came up to him with a water bottle and a quart Gatorade and he took the Gatorade and chugged the whole thing. He got back in the car and I zip tied his fresh air hose on his helmet. In the meantime B was driving the Subaru hard and had finished the first lap in under an hour. J was supposed to just ride in the F100 for the first lap but had stayed in for the second lap so I spent some time trying to find him. I got some water and tried to get video of the Outback going through the secondary pit (~mile 23) but never saw them come by. I went back to the Forester and waited and got a gas can ready. Eventually J showed up in the F100. He said he'd had a blast and he went to the bathroom and got some water. He kept going on about how he couldn't believe the Outback was making it around that course. About ten minutes later B and slammo showed up in the Outback. They had gotten a flat tire and the hatch wouldn't open so it took them a while to change it on course. Another wheel had a couple dents in it and was starting to slowly leak air so we replaced that and put a good spare in the car. We added five gallons of fuel and J got in to navigate. I told B at that point we had almost no chance of finishing all six laps so just take it easy. I hammered the dents out of the wheel which mostly stopped the leak but did create some tiny cracks. In another hour they came back with no issues so I got in to drive and J stayed in to navigate. Five gallons of fuel was added and the tank was full so we had used ten gallons in 93 miles for about 9mpg, still worse than expected but better than 6mpg we thought we had in the prerun. By this time it was still possible with a good run to do two more laps by the 10:45 cutoff for starting the last lap but it was getting dark, I turned the lights on maybe five miles into the lap. Almost immediately we had an occasional tire rub in the RF, mainly when on the gas. I thought (hoped) it was just because we put on some different tires that were maybe not as worn. We discussed stopping to check it out but there weren't many good places to stop and it's a big hassle to get in and out of the car with all the safety gear so I kept going and it didn't seem too bad. After maybe fifteen miles it was starting to get a little squirrelly so I found a good place on a gravel road to pull off course. It looked like one of the bolts holding the RF control arm bushing had fallen out and then the other bolt/insert ripped out of the body. I jacked/strapped it mostly back into position and used a bunch of hose clamps and heavy safety wire to hold it in place. While I was doing that J was pointing people by and letting them know we were OK. By the time we got back in the car and underway it was 11PM and we heard over the radio that the Subaru was the only car still on the course. I told them we were back on the move but had suspension damage so I was going slow the five miles to the secondary pit. We made it back and the repair seemed to be holding fine. JCR had finished five laps in time to start his sixth but decided he was done as he'd already vomited in the car. The F100 had finished all six laps by 10:30. The fastest lap time in a trophy truck was 38 minutes for an average speed of 49mph, which is slow for a desert race. For example in the Vegas to Reno the winning truck usually averages about 75mph. J told me he was bouncing around a similar amount in the F100 and the Outback but the F100 was going faster. Fortunately I had put my headlamp on when I went to pick up my street shoes I saw a black widow spider that had built a web in the left shoe. I smashed it with a big stick. We semi posterior packed things into our cars and said goodbye to J and slammo and rode with JCR back to his cabin. This is the first off road race we've ever done that I felt was almost too rough to be fun. Many of the rough sections of the course could be driven in a stock Honda Civic but it would be a very rough ride. It's sort of like harsh washboard, it's not really challenging just annoying and shakes the car to death. One more experience that makes me want to just trail ride or race point to point. Also contemplating making the windshield and/or rear glass easily removable for desert racing.
  4. In the morning we stopped at a gas station so JCR could fill his baja bug and his gas cans and went to the ranch. There had been a Raptor run with 100 Ford Raptors at the ranch a few months before the race and it had rained a lot so the course was much rougher than in previous years. The bikes and stock UTVs raced four laps on the 31 mile course in the morning and immediately after that prerunning started and we were one of the first cars out. I took it easy on the rough rocky sections of the course, in general I went about 20mph but there were many times I was going 15 or 10 or even slower. B and I estimated that about two thirds of the time and at least half the mileage of the course was rough and rocky. A lot of that was 2-4” square embedded rocks. You can drive it at 30-50mph and it probably feels smoother but will just tear up the car. There were a few pretty steep and rough hill climbs, a few with rock steps/ledges near the top. The average lifted Subaru with good skidplates could make it around the course just not at the speeds we were doing it. The smoother sections were fun, there was a nice whoop section near the start of the course that was great and far more jumps than any desert course we've ever seen (they don't really occur naturally). We decided it was the roughest off road course we've ever driven. It took me an hour and eight minutes for an average speed of 27mph. The race was six laps (186 miles) with a seven hour time limit (5PM-midnight), so with pit stops included it would be difficult to finish in the time limit even with no issues. We filled the Outback before and after the prerun and it took five gallons, which was more than we expected so we decided we'd just add five gallons at each of our three planned stops. The only damage to the car we could find was that one of the lights on the roof was turned and another was missing its cover. We had JCR's phone with us so he had a gps track of the course in case he got lost in the dark. He has raced there before but the course was changed (shortened) from previous years because some sections were badly washed out. B took a couple of J's five gallon gas cans and our two and filled them all up with premium. On the way back to the ranch he stopped to get a picture of their white buffalo. Then he noticed the Forester was running hot. He shut off the AC and it started coming back down. We replaced the water pump and timing belt when we had the engine and trans out a while back, I'm wondering if the new water pump isn't pumping like it should. It was in the 90s F all weekend. One of the trophy truck teams we talked to just had four Baja Designs LP9 lights on the front of their truck and said they're more light than you need, better than the pile of lights and light bars they used to have. Said the LP6 is pretty good too.
  5. B came over last Thursday morning and we did some last minute packing up and hooked up the cars to tow down to Texas. Our friend JCR had left South Bend a little earlier towing his baja bug so he was a few hours behind us. I had driven about 250 miles but the gas gauge was still above half. I was going to stop soon and the car started cutting out and the fuel pump was making a lot of noise, you could hear it occasionally get some fuel and quiet down, just enough to get to the end of an off ramp. We dumped in the 2.5 gallons of fuel from B's gas can but it still wouldn't start. I pulled the pressure hose off at the engine and a lot of compressed air with some fuel sprayed out of the engine side. B cycled the key a few times and we seemed to have a reasonably solid fuel flow. I put the hose back on it and fired back up and ran fine. Took 20 gallons to fill including the 2.5 we'd put in. We got past Tulsa and camped at a city park at Stroud lake. Friday was fairly uneventful. There were giant grasshoppers on the road leading into the ranch. Their body was almost the size of two adult human fingers. They could barely jump. We made it to the ranch around 2PM, slammo and J were already there and we picked out a place to park in the shade of some trees that we ended up camping in all weekend. We put the door bars, harnesses, numbers, and lights on the Outback and went through tech and registration. While we waited around we saw some other critters: I cooked some dogs and then we watched the handful of unlimited class vehicles (trophy trucks and ultra 4s) qualify. JCR had rented a small cabin on a lake near the ranch so we stayed with him Friday and Saturday nights. There were about ten long piers out into the lake, most of which had some kind of covered square pier at the end so you could fish in the middle ice fishing style.
  6. Interesting. Is your 2004 an H4? With the H6 the downshift is violent, I like your manual shifting idea. A leaking/flattened o-ring or cracked piston would make sense. Unrelated snapping turtle pictures from the weekend. Smallest one I've ever seen: On a playing card for scale: Adult, probably average size:
  7. My 2001 with the same engine and trans downshifts normally. The white 2002 feels like it's going to rip the trans or rear diff out of the car, revs to almost 6000 and then grabs and pulls it down to 4000 at full load. The battery has been disconnected numerous times, it always does it. Sounds like slammo might have a line on a cheap EZ30 and 4EAT for me though.
  8. Drove up to the UP in the white Outback with the in laws over the weekend. I did hit a couple of snowmobile trails/dirt roads, including one that was rough enough to be fun, but it was mainly boat rides and some hiking. At some point after we got up there I added a quart of water to the radiator but we did drive around some while we were up there and I didn't check the coolant again before we left for home. Brought the kayaks home on the roof, had 700-800# of passengers and a couple hundred pounds of cargo in the back, ambient temps about 88F. About halfway home I saw some smoke coming out of the back of our car, temp gauge read normal. Stopped at the next gas station and checked over the car. There appeared to be some oil on the trans skid but it wasn't actively dripping on the ground. Seemed like engine oil. Engine, auto trans, front diff, and PS were all still full. Let it cool off a bit and added about a gallon of water. Stopped shortly afterwards and bubbles were coming up in the full overflow bottle with the engine off. After a while the AC stopped working and the temp gauge started creeping up. I drove it by the temp gauge for a half hour or so, up a grade or at 70+ it would get up to the mark above the middle, if we were going downhill or about 60 it would start to drop towards the middle. Eventually it was staying at the mark above the middle so I pulled off the interstate and took back roads to the next town. Stopped at another gas station, overflow bottle was boiling over again, and bought a gallon of pre mixed coolant. Was able to add the whole thing and a little water. Ran about 60mph with good AC and normal temps for 30-40 minutes, then the AC stopped working and temps started creeping up but got home without them getting much above the middle. So I think the head gaskets are finally starting to really go. I've had to add about a quart of coolant every 300 miles or so in hot temps since I bought it a few years ago but now it's closer to a gallon per 100 miles. Out of the last 10-20 times I've started the car (before this overheating issue) it will take a while to crank or start and then die and have to restart maybe 1/4 of the times, usually when it's still warm. Had some kind of evaporative trouble code too. Also the trans has downshifted hard (4th to 3rd?) since I bought it. So hard it will occasionally chirp a tire. Need to decide whether to replace the whole engine and trans, replace head gaskets, try to fix the trans, buy a different car, or what. I can get a JDM engine for $1200 and relatively low mileage (<150k) trans for about $800. Would like to keep it as an automatic for now so my wife has a backup car and can take the family to the offroad park sometime this year. Also convenient having three EZ30 Subarus. Somewhat tempted to swap in an EZ36 and standalone and/or a different trans. Could buy another car and swap the suspension, axles, brakes, and bumper from this one onto that. Don't have room to keep this one as a parts car. In the short run I will probably see if I can fix the hard downshifting issue in the trans without removing it and see how bad the coolant loss is in normal city driving and check the trouble codes again.
  9. pontoontodd

    03 outback rear suspension on EA81 - T-bone 2.0

    That's what I thought but the teeth on mine started twisting/bending and then you can't hold it in reverse under load. Maybe you'll have better luck than I did.
  10. pontoontodd

    03 outback rear suspension on EA81 - T-bone 2.0

    His doesn't, my dual range doesn't, I haven't had many other 5MTs apart.
  11. pontoontodd

    03 outback rear suspension on EA81 - T-bone 2.0

    I would make sure when you assemble it that the reverse idler gear still slides a little past the other reverse gears. Not as far as stock but if not it will want to push out of reverse under load. If you keep having that problem with the ring gear bolts you should either safety wire them or make some two hole tabs out of thin sheet metal. Torque the bolts down and then bend the ends of the tabs around the bolt flats to keep them from coming loose.
  12. Thanks on the spline info. Did you get a new 05-09 rear hub assembly? If so did it come with the hub pressed into the bearing? The one I got for a 2002 is just the bearing, can't buy that hub except from the dealer for $160. Yes, the alternators were both from six cylinders (EZ30/EZ36). Looks like it would fit on 2000+ Forester EJ25, pulley might be wider on the six but might still work.
  13. Thought about making an adapter, I think it would be easier to just use a different hub, maybe turn up a sleeve if needed.
  14. I'm not sure about the 05-09 Leg/OB rear hub spline, hard to believe it's a different spline than all the others. The 02 Leg/OB bolt on rear wheel bearings are only about 1/2" wider than the 05-14 Leg/OB bolt on front wheel bearings. That's the width of the spacer we've been using on our front CV axles/bearings with the longer front control arms, so it should work out fine. At this time it would be a lot of money and time for the benefit so I don't plan on doing it yet. You're welcome. The rock crawling/bouncing you did recently was some of the most extreme I've seen a Subaru do.
  15. Been wondering for a while now if we can fit the larger front axles we've been using on the rear somehow. Got a couple later model Subaru wheel bearing/hubs and took a bunch of measurements. Left to right - bolt on rear wheel bearing 2000-2009 Legacy/Outback, bolt on front wheel bearing 2005-2015 Legacy/Outback, bolt on rear wheel bearing 2015 Outback (2015+ Legacy/Outback/Ascent), bolt on rear wheel bearing 2009 Impreza (2009+ Impreza/Forester/BRZ, according to Timken/Rockauto this also fits 2010-2014 Outback). On the left is the press in wheel bearing style hub for the rear of a 99 Outback. On the right is the front press in style hub for 99 Outback. Here are the measurements we came up with: Bearing ID is in mm, the ones that were pressed together I just guessed at, can't get an exact measurement. Other dimensions are in inches. Don't have a rear hub for a 2002 handy, the only place I could find to buy one new was the dealer at $160, haven't gotten one out of the spare suspension we have lying around. Should get one for 2007 Leg/OB, didn't realize that one was different until I started typing all this up, specs on that are from Timken, not sure about the 25 tooth spline. 15 Legacy/Outback rear hub has a much larger wheel bolt pattern than the rest. The later model bolt on rear wheel bearings do have the same 27 tooth CV spline as the front hubs. All of the rear bolt on wheel bearings seem to have the same knuckle diameter but they all have different bolt patterns at the knuckle. Also the late model rear hubs are much longer than the earlier hubs. For the multilink rear suspension I think the easiest solution would be to press a hub out of a 2005 front bolt on wheel bearing and sleeve it to fit the 2002 bolt on rear wheel bearing. That might even fit the rear press in wheel bearings on the older cars but the outer seal would be a problem. Then we could make up some splined stubs to go in the rear diff to use the female style axles. Not going to happen any time soon, just thinking about our options in the future.